FANDOM


The Atari Jaguar was Atari's last major console to hit the market and released in 1993. It was marketed as the first 64 bit console.

A CD add-on was released in 1995.

Why it Flopped

  1. False advertisement: The Jaguar is actually a 32-bit console that used two processors working together to make it "64-bit." This is like calling a modern 64-bit quad-core CPU 256-bit. That being said, however, the Jaguar did have a 64-bit internal bus. 
  2. The secondary processor was a Motorola 68000, used as a CPU by the Genesis/Mega Drive and Amiga. Because it was easier to work with, developers often used it as a stand-in CPU, effectively making the Jaguar a 16-bit console.
  3. Due to the complicated architecture, very few third party developers supported the Jaguar. Only 67 games were commercially released in the Jaguar's lifespan.
  4. The packed-in game Cybermorph wasn't particularly impressive.
  5. Atari's financial problems and declining reputation kept third party developers away.
  6. There weren't many good and exclusive games that would make gamers want to buy the console.
  7. The controller, adapted from the Atari Falcon Power Pad, is seen as bulky and ugly. It has a pathetically short cable, and features a number pad like the old Intellivision controller. Some games came with easily-lost overlays for the keypad, but when you have to look at the joypad instead of the game, something has gone very badly wrong with your joypad design. The controller also didn't feature shoulder pads like the SNES, Sega Saturn, Sony PlayStation, even the 3DO did on their controllers. Along with that, the face buttons, which are known to have a mushy feeling, are also positioned too closely to each other, making it easy to accidentally press two of the buttons at the same time.
  8. The system did not have a dust tray to protect the cartridge slot from dust. Not even the CD add-on had a dust tray for the cartridge slot so people could play Jaguar games with their CD add-on connected. So you are going to be forced to get some tape or something to cover up the cartridge slot in order to protect the cartridge slot from dust.
  9. The cartridges have pointless handles and aren't even labeled.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. It does have some good games, such as Rayman, Tempest 2000 and Alien vs. Predator.
  2. Its port of Doom comes the closest of all console ports to the PC original (though is does have the massive downside of having no music).
  3. The source code is available for homebrewers. Some of those homebrews have shown the Jaguar had plenty of potential.
  4. Since there are only 67 games it shouldn't be too difficult to collect the entire library.
  5. While the controller was the brunt of many jokes, it did have some redeeming qualities. The face buttons and D-pad are in easy reach of the user's thumbs. The backside of the controller has nice ergonomics with indents for the index fingers, making it comfortable to hold for those with large hands. 
  6. The Jaguar's chipset was used as the basis for an arcade system board platform that ran some of Atari's arcade games of the time, known as the "COJAG" (short for Coin-Op Jaguar). The COJAG, compared to the original Jaguar, had more meat on the bones, where it had a 68020 or MIPS R3000-based CPU (depending on board version), more RAM, a full 64-bit wide ROM bus (compared to the Jaguar's 32-bit wide ROM bus), and for some titles, a hard drive. The most well-known of these COJAG games were Area 51 and Maximum Force.

Reception

Though it is a commercial failure that ended Atari's venture in the home console market, it developed a small fanbase. Atari essentially ceased to exist after the Jaguar as they had sold themselves to a storage company and ceased all hardware operations.

The modern company called Atari is little more than a simple brand name owned by holding company Atari, SA.

Trivia

  • Atari sold the Jaguar body molds to some fairly unusual customers, most strangely including a company that cast up white Jaguar body shells as casings for dental cameras. These were still closer to being functional consoles than one of the other things made with a Jaguar body shell, the Retro Chameleon.
  • If you plug in the Jaguar CD add-on, the console looks like a toilet (the Jaguar itself serving as the bowl and the CD serving as the lid).

Videos